If you are looking for a recipe to fill your house with the scent of the Holiday’s, this is it!
I began this recipe assuming I had ground ginger…I did not. So I ended up using fresh ginger and it was the best substitution I’ve ever made. I also didn’t have orange extract either so I used lemon zest and fresh orange juice.
I come from a long line of crazy Christmas ladies and I can’t let the lineage stop with me. Therefore I am always blasting Christmas music, lighting Christmas candles and adding decorations wherever they will fit in my apartment (including our white tree that my in-laws are appalled by). I want to eat, drink and bake all things seasonal and spiced, spreading cheer wherever I go. Mikey is a great sport and although he will never understand my obsession with Christmas, he supports my craziness and even shares in my enthusiasm some of the time!
Recipe: Gingerbread Loaf with Lemon Zest Icing
1/2 Cup Butter, softened (1 Stick)
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Applesauce
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Clove
1 Teaspoon Freshly Minced Ginger (or 2 1/4 teaspoons ground)
1 Teaspoon Salt
8oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Zest of (about) 1/4 a Lemon (and a slight squeeze of juice if you want it more tart)
2 1/2 Cups Confectioners Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour a loaf pan or a 9 inch square pan (if you want in a cake form)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add orange juice.
Stir baking soda into applesauce and once it is fully incorporated add to the butter mixture. It may look as though the butter and applesauce aren’t mixing, don’t worry. Once you add the flour it will combine.
Add fresh ginger and mix until just incorporated.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, clove and salt and slowly add mixture to the applesauce in the mixing bowl. Don’t over mix, just stir until fully incorporated and pour into prepared pan. Place in oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once cake is fully baked, remove from oven and set on a rack to cool. While it is cooling you can make the frosting in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add cream cheese and beat until it is fluffy. Add zest of lemon, vanilla and lemon juice if using (you could also add a splash of orange juice). Slowly add in 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar and beat until smooth consistency is reached.
Let cake cool completely, remove from pan and frost with frosting (since I did a loaf I didn’t use all the frosting. I probably only used half, so you could halve this recipe or double the bread if you wanted. You can also put the frosting in a tight sealed container and freeze for a few months until you need it).
If you want to you can top with candied orange peel or ginger. Slice and serve at room temperature with a tall glass of milk or a cup of coffee (this stuff is sweet!).
Notes: I planned on this being a gingerbread “bread” but it is definitely cake. You could double the cake recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan and you would have more than enough frosting!